Weeks before coming down with COVID-19, Dr. Josh Fiske had been fine and healthy, vacationing with family and running.
Then, the former New York City Marathon finisher was fighting for his life, just shy of going on a ventilator at Overlook Medical Center.
Dr. Fiske says that a decision was made by his infectious disease doctor, Dr. Meher Sultana, and Fiske's father, who is a gastroenterologist, that maybe he was in cytokine crisis, meaning that the body had already fought off the virus and was now attacking itself.
The 46-year-old says doctors gave him experimental medicine, and within a 48-hour window, his fever dropped from 104 degrees to normal.
"They gave me the medicine Actemra, which basically shut off my immune system and allowed my body to calm down," he said.
Dr. Fiske said the drug is normally used to treat arthritis, but things were so dire at one point that he wrote letters to his teenage sons in case he didn't make it.
"If something happened to me, I didn't want it to define them for the rest of their lives," he said.
Thankfully, his sons never had to get those letters. Instead, Dr. Fiske is so healthy that he's given plasma that will hopefully save others who have the virus.
His message to everyone is that the virus isn't any less strong -- and it's still out there.
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